For Reel

Nasty Baby (2015)
November 17, 2015, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sebastián Silva
4.5 Stars
Nasty BabyNasty Baby understandably created a huge critical divide when it premiered at Sundance, and it is similarly unsurprising that it hasn’t gained much traction in the wake of its release. Opponents of the film have felt betrayed by the direction it takes–the first three quarters play as an ambling, lightly pleasant comedy drama about a gay couple and their surrogate. The final fourth involves a violent shift, upsetting what had been revealed about these characters and, more specifically, how one might view them. It is precisely Sebastián Silva’s seeming objectivity that problematizes the material–as Nasty Baby unfolds, it does so as a skewering of the comfortable bourgeoisie. And yet, he is uninterested in placing value judgments on his characters, instead opting to let the audience make those decisions on their own. To me, the final act of the film feels earned and almost as if it were an inevitability, this being a film with an undercurrent of brutal, violent social Darwinism, where the rejects of society pose a threat to a comfortable living. Whereas many films that critique New York “hipster” culture point to the vanity of twenty somethings, Silva suggests the very violent act of gentrification, where the socially progressive, liberal young people ironically become blind to what the cost of their comfort is.

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